FTSE 100 movers: Miners shine but Hikma, Merlin hit by downgrade
London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.5% to 7,405.20 in afternoon trade, having earlier hit an intraday record high, as the Bank of England voted 8-1 to stand pat on policy, as expected.
Heavily-weighted mining stocks were the best performers, boosted by earlier weakness in the dollar, which makes greenback-denominated commodities cheaper for holders of other currencies.
The dollar was hit by comments from the Federal Reserve, which took a more dovish stance than expected on Wednesday regarding the future path of rate hikes.
Precious metals miners Fresnillo and Randgold Resources were also lifted by a rise in gold prices.
Shares in Anglo American surged on news that Volcan Investments, the family trust of the founder of India’s largest mining company, is investing £2bn in the miner.
On the downside, Hikma Pharmaceuticals slumped after JP Morgan Cazenove downgraded the stock to ‘neutral’ from ‘overweight’ as it expects the company's new asthma drug to have a short term impact.
Merlin Entertainments was also hit by a downgrade as Berenberg cut its stance on the stock to ‘sell’ from ‘hold’ due to a feeling that investor patience is wearing thin and that "Merlin is potentially one misstep away from triggering a material de-rating".
Supermarket retailer Sainsbury was on the back foot after revealing that like-for-like retail revenue fell in the fourth quarter but total group sales rose thanks to a strong showing from Argos.
Direct Line and British American Tobacco fell back as their stock went ex-dividend.
Anglo American (AAL) 1,287.00p 7.74%
Glencore (GLEN) 340.10p 4.61%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,512.00p 4.06%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,469.50p 3.68%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,331.50p 3.66%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 835.50p 3.60%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 7,180.00p 3.16%
Intu Properties (INTU) 281.40p 1.96%
DCC (DCC) 7,170.00p 1.92%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 69.49p 1.85%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,195.00p -4.44%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 333.00p -3.84%
Merlin Entertainments (MERL) 481.20p -3.04%
Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) 8,675.00p -1.81%
Tesco (TSCO) 186.45p -1.56%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 267.40p -1.47%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 236.60p -1.25%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 5,136.00p -0.95%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,505.00p -0.79%
Carnival (CCL) 4,493.00p -0.69%